Tuesday, March 21, 2006

The Spring Break Curse

I love camping -- waking up in the chilly morning to hot coffee and fresh breezes, the sound of leaves pattering on the top of the tent, the glow of embers and the tang of wood smoke as you close your eyes at night. So I was looking forward to last weekend's trip to Goose Island, which I visited eight years ago. "Nothing but wooded, sand-free campsites," I told my sand-phobic husband, who reluctantly agreed to go. You see, any vacation in March is risky -- because of the Spring Break Curse. If febrile convulsions or antibiotic-resistant infections are going to hit, it's always in March, when we're out of town -- but it was only a two-day trip, and not a flushed little face in sight, so I was sure we were in the clear.

Well, the first problem was that by the time we got there, all the tree-lined, sand-free sites were gone, and the only campsite left looked like a beach in an oak grove. And was also a twenty-yard walk from the road. (If you're a backpacker, you're probably rolling your eyes, but you can't imagine the amount of gear that goes along with two young kids.) Still, everything got set up, we enjoyed a quick hot dog dinner and a trip to the fishing pier (sting rays everywhere, blinking their dark eyes), and returned to the tent convinced we were in the clear. Until 4 a.m., when my daughter woke me up to announce that she had thrown up. Twice. (Once on her brother.)

We're back now, thank God. The beach was lovely, but I'm going to be doing laundry for a week. And if I start talking March vacations again next year, somebody please slap me.

In the meantime, the garden is coming along -- we got a surprise cold snap and some rain this week, which perked everything up -- today I'm replacing some of the Texas Betony in the front yard this week, and adding some Four-Nerve Daisy. They're tough natives that can handle the searing summers here. The purple lantana is mounded with flowers now and the daffodils are just about played out, but the columbine is unfurling its delicate yellow fairy flowers. And my fridge is overflowing with broccoli from my veggie garden -- have to soak the florets first, though, to get rid of the aphids! (The lettuce is divine, too, but I'd better hurry up and get my tomatoes in.)

And since summer's right around the corner here, I'm hearing the call of Maine. I'm setting up my travel schedule now... looking forward to the cool breezes off the sea, the heady aroma of beach roses, the blueberries like dusty gems on the ground... I always regret that we don't have a proper kitchen up there where I can whip up fresh muffins, but maybe someday! I'll be up there at the end of August... feel free to drop me a line!

On a more literary note, the signing and appearance schedule is filling up for the next few months here; I'll be updating the web site in the next week or two, but in the meantime, to see where I'll be, you can click here. Also, just got a tip that a great review is coming up in Library Journal; when I've got it in my hot little hands, I'll post it!

Hope your gardens -- and notebooks -- are overflowing. More soon!


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